Improvisation games, drama games, or improv games provide endless possibilities for creativity, social interaction, and critical thinking. You may have played some of these games as ice-breakers at various social events. One game, for example, is Categories. Have the students walk randomly around the room until you call out a category (hair, shoes, what you had for breakfast). The students then divide into that category, without talking, while you count down slowly from five. They will need to use pantomime and body language to communicate with each other while dividing into the categories. Make the countdown quick enough to give them a challenge but slow enough that they can succeed. Once they are in their categories, have a discussion about why and how they divided as they did. You might also deepen the discussion, inviting them to share feelings and make connections between this game and aspects of life in general. Augusto Boal (pronounced like the type of bow you can tie followed by "all"), author and practitioner of The Theatre of the Oppressed, used drama games as opportunities for people to think critically about unequal and oppressive power relationships. You can use them in you classroom to help students think through social and other problems (e.g. how to deal with a bully). In the process, students also develop important language arts skills in speaking and listening, that can easily be extended into reading and writing. In fact, critical conversations are vital in developing literacy skills. Improvisation games are also an integral part of Drama Based Pedagogy, a highly useful and successful approach to teaching developed from Augusto Boal's original ideas. Finally, the following links include hundreds of improvisation games.